Traditional Chinese Medicine
TCM is the modern Chinese Medicine: an attempt to find a harmonious integration between the Chinese Medical tradition and Western Medicine.
In 1956, shortly after the communist revolution, the Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai authorised the establishment of the first four colleges of Chinese medicine. Two thousand first rate Western medicine doctors were formed using standardized elements of traditional medical knowledge extracted from modalities of treatment belonging to several different pre-communist schools.
The term TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) was coined at that time to define the new Chinese Medicine and those Western-trained doctors became the top level TCM administrators of the 80s and 90s.
Great relevance was given to the Zang/Fu (organ) system reducing the relevance of the energetic aspects of the pre-communist Chinese medical schools.
These traditions survived in Vietnam (informing French acupuncture) and Japan, Hong Kong and Formosa (influencing English acupuncture) and brought a deeper understanding of the actual traditional East Asian medical system. Sometimes the term Classical Chinese Medicine is used to differentiate these traditions and their epigones from TCM.
TCM, with its simplified standardised approach to treatment based on patterns of symptoms ordered into a linear diagnosis addressed using specific protocols, has the great merit to be more easily accessible for people belonging to cultures different from Chinese and it is certainly the ideal entry level in the complex world of Oriental Medicine. This is why TCM is taught as part of the comprehensive Acupuncture training that students receive at ICOM.